Nite 'n' Gale on song at Allensmore.
Traditionally, the national awards for the season are presented at the PPORA lunch at the venue, and the competition for the Weatherbys Chase/PPORA Leading Young Horse in the Welsh Border Area was hot. But it was the Shropshire-based Everall family's seven-year-old Beauchamp Oracle who finally took the title, shadowed by Gibbons family's Shemardi.
Beauchamp Oracle is trained at Shobdon by Steve Flook, who also had reason to celebrate later in the day. He sent out Guignol Du Cochet to gallop to a brilliant three-quarters of a length victory in the Dodson & Horrell PPORA Hunter Chase Final.
The success was all the more poignant as the gelding was ridden by his owner, 41 year-old Lyonshall man, Glyn Slade-Jones, who was realising a cherished ambition in riding his first winner over regulation fences. Glyn, who is better known as a driver on the harness racing circuits, only learned to jump two years ago and rode his first winner between the flags at Brecon last season, the day before his 40th birthday.
Glyn, modestly attributes his victory to Steve Flook's diligent tuition (I've never yet ridden a horse when he hasn't told me off') and initially to the patience of Billie Brown who gave him lessons over poles at her Penybont riding school.
Glyn is planning a unique treble this season as he turns his attentions to training his father's pacers. 'I've ridden the winner of a point-to-point and a hunter 'chase this year - if I can win a harness race it'll be a combination that no-one else in the equestrian world is likely to achieve.'
There was a gladiatorial air about the third Wales & West harness racing meeting under BHRC rules. The second of the Biotal series of Free For Alls had again attracted the best horses in the region, all determined to prove supremacy.
Rebelwood (Mark Pritchard) led the cavalry charge over the mile and a quarter and grimly held the advantage until the final bend. Here Nite'n'Gale (Julian Price) hit overdrive and battled into the lead, stalked by arch-rival, Fearless JR. Turning for home, Richard Owens cocked the trigger on Fearless JR and the two magnificent pacers were locked in combat to the wire. There were long minutes of suspense as the judges deliberated and then acclaim as Nite'n'Gale was awarded the glory.
It was definitely a day when the 'fairer sex' dominated. Elaine Thomas' home-bred filly, Scoots Mischief sizzled clear to take the first division of the maiden, while Clare Gunn celebrated her birthday with a flying victory behind Destiny's Girl in the second division.
Julie Bevan galvanised her own Northern Sky to make all to take the open mile, while Sarah Mould kept the ladies in the limelight, sprinting to a convincing success with Les Saunders' novice Leckwith Destiny. It looked as if a double was on the cards for Sarah when I Am Still The Man threw down a spirited challenge in the top grade mile event, but his dramatic slip on the bend allowed Joanne Taff to power clear with Blackmail.
Tregaron pharmacist, Huw Evans made the frame with all of his runners.
Terry Laventure showed that he intended to make a fight for the driver's title with an all-the-way triumph with High Heel Star.
Next meeting: Tomorrowat Leominster 5 pm and Walton, Sunday June 6th, 2 p.m.
Results. Going: Firm
Don't Forget The Evening Meeting Maiden Div 1 1 Scoots Mischief (David Bevan); 2 Wellfield Carl (Pete Collins); 3 Ithon Annie (Roy Wilson); 2:13.7. 1/2L, 21/2L. Owned by Elaine Thomas, trained by David Bevan, Maesmynis.
Ditto Div 2 1 Destiny's Girl (Clare Gunn); 2 Caenwood Mystic (Julian Price); 3 Newtown Alyisha (Debbie Wakefield).
2:14.0. 1/2L, head. Owned & trained by John Gunn, Redditch.
They Don't Get Better Than Brian Reynolds! Novice 1 Jimmy Short (Huw Evans); 2 Gypsy Girl (Dowie Lloyd-Davies); 3 Master of the Hall (Terry Laventure) 2:13.4. 31/2L, 11/2L. Owned & trained by Huw Evans, Tregaron.
Gorgeous Gordon Lyons Novice/Improver 1 Leckwith Destiny (Sarah Mould); 2 Symlog Derryn Du (Jason Podmore) 10 yds; 3 Home Ambrose (Huw Evans) 2:11.8. 1L, head. Owned by Les Saunders, trained by Lyn Mould, Penkridge.
Roland & Karina's Improver/Intermediate1 High Heel Star (Terry Laventure); 2 Southwood (Mark Pritchard); 3 Symlog Strawberry (Patrick Morris) 2:11.7. 11/4L, 2L. Owned & trained by Arthur Parsons, Cardiff.
Castle Carvery (Rhayader) Open Handicap Mile
1 Northern Sky (Julie Bevan); 2 Ynyston Chips (Debbie Wakefield); 3 Goldwood (Mark Pritchard). 2:10.0. Neck, 3/4L. Owned by Julie Bevan, trained by Geraint Phillips, Brecon.
Buy from Brightwells Open Handicap Mile (Handicap reduced by 20 yds) 1 Blackmail (Joanne Taff); 2 I Am The Man (Sarah Mould); 3 Cassini Venture (Mark Pritchard) 2:7.1. 31/2L, 21/2L. Owned by Cynthia Appleby, trained by Joanne Taff, Cannock.
Biotal Equine Gold Free For All (11/4 Miles 1 Nite'n'Gale (Julian Price); 2 Fearless JR (Richard Owens) 3 Rebelwood (Mark Pritchard). 2:37.0. Short hd. 2L. Owned & trained by Julie Price, Presteigne.